Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Dodger...on this blog?

The summer months should be about having fun, watching baseball and having time to enjoy my hobbies...but that isn't the case for least that last part. Work has kept me so busy these last few months that it's been hard to escape from reality for a bit to enjoy any of my hobbies, let alone baseball cards. While I have been working in the background on a few sets and such, I haven't picked up many singles lately. One card I scored for a pretty good price (in my opinion) was this blue parallel of the Dodgers' Alex Wood from 2016 Topps Tribute.

This Charlotte kid misses the other Charlotte kid. I cringed when I heard the trade announcement that was shipping Alex out to the west coast. However now that Olivera has been traded and the Braves essentially have Matt Kemp in left field it lessens the pain...a little.

I have a few autos of Alex as a rookie and even though he has a simple autograph, he's one of those players that I will still buy cards of even though he's not an Atlanta Brave any longer. I liked the clean design of Tribute this year and finding the blue parallel of a Dodgers player just seemed to make sense for to pick up.

It's hard to keep up with a team on the other side of the country, but I know Alex has struggled some since being traded. I don't recall watching him pitch since he left, but I do hope he continues to show what he is capable of in the near future...even if it is with the Dodgers!

Friday, August 19, 2016

One last trip to Turner Field

The wife and I are making the trip one last time down to Turner Field to catch the Braves play. For the past few years I've tried to make it down to catch a game at least one a season. I'd like to go more often, but a) it's a 4 hour drive, b) I don't like the heat/humidity and c) it's hard to fit a weekend away into my wife and I's schedule at times. However we decided before the season even started we would make one last trip before the team moves out to Cobb County.

This will be a bittersweet trip. When I was younger my late father and grandfather would take me to Fulton County Stadium to watch a few games during the summer months. The thought alone of those two men that I've lost still makes me a little teary eyed. Growing up I played baseball and I loved it...however when it became time for me to make that transition from coach pitch/machine pitch to little league, I got scared. My dad was my coach, on and off the field. He knew I loved the game and he knew I could do anything I set my mind to. However he also wasn't one of those pushy parents. As I stood on the field across the athletic park and watch the kids hurl the ball towards the plate...usually all over the place...I told my dad I didn't want to play anymore. My dad's reaction? "OK son, if that is what you want." To this day I kind of wished my dad was just a little pushy because like a lot of us at times I play that what if game. What if I had gotten over my fear of kids pitching and I kept playing. What if I played ball in high school? Could I have played professionally?

Even though my dad didn't push me into playing, we still got to enjoy baseball together from time to time by driving down to Atlanta. I have fond memories of sitting in the old stadium with my dad and grandfather, watching the Braves struggle against whomever they were playing that day. I also remember coming home and hanging a big David Justice poster on my bed room door my dad bought me at a game. After I got into collecting cards around 1990/1991, going to the games was that much more fun as I "knew" more about the players after reading the backs of baseball cards. I was also able to ask my grandfather to tell me more about the players he watched growing up. 

Back them living in Charlotte, NC we got to watch many of the Braves games on the old TBS cable channel...the Super Station. I can remember the worst to first season. I can remember when Chipper was called up. I can remember the heart breaking loss to the Twins in the World Series...Kirby Puckett jumping up and down in the outfield celebrating. And of course I can remember when the Braves finally won it all in 1995. This was the same time however that my grandfather's health would start to go south and 6 months later my father's health too. I lost both of these great men so close together and of course it goes without saying that I miss them both so, so much.

Today I have a new baseball buddy to go to games with, my wife. She may not watch many of the games with me on television, but she really enjoys getting out to the field and watching a game. It's been at least two seasons since the last time we made it down to Atlanta for a game and it's surreal that this will be our last time at Turner Field, but regardless of the team's record I'm excited about this weekend trip and the new memories we'll make. Soon, I hope to be able to start doing for my girls what my dad did for me and take them to a few games. After all, isn't baseball supposed to be about family?

It's funny how these last few weeks have worked out too regarding this trip. With the Braves' record let's just say it isn't hard to obtain tickets to a game, even a weekend game. We ended up getting front row tickets in the left field, I believe the section closest to the foul pole for $22 each. Because I travel so much for work I ended up having a night to redeem for a free hotel room. Then the Braves go and trade for Matt Kemp. I am so glad I'll get to sit behind Kemp and watch him play over the likes of D'Arnaud (no offense Chase!). Then of course this week the big news was that Dansby Swanson was getting called up to the majors. While it would have been cool to what Theran hurl the ball, I'll get to see Tyrell Jenkins take the mound on Saturday against the Washington Nationals. I just hope that my favorite player to hate (Bryce Harper) plays so I can boo him in person! Yes, I feel this is going to be a great weekend. All that is left to do is go buy a new Braves hat before I leave tomorrow morning and possibly pick up a pack of two of cards for the ride down. Go Braves!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Call Up - Dansby Swanson

August 17th, 2016. According to, This is the day that the highly touted Braves prospect, Dansby Swanson is scheduled to be called up to the Show. I am working out of town this week, but you can be sure I will be in front of a television tomorrow night to watch this kid everyone is talking about.

pic courtesy of

Earlier today the Braves made a roster move when they shipped Erick Aybar off to the Detroit Tigers, effectively making room for Dansby. He has done a great job in AA Mississippi, hitting .261 with a .745 OPS in 84 games. He started this season at Class A with the Carolina Mudcats.

On the baseball card front, I've only been able to pick up a few cards of him (in a Braves uni), mostly Bowman. I look forward to seeing Topps and even Panini create more cards of him as this season continues to unfold. After all, the baseball season in the card world never truly ends. 

I'm headed to Atlanta this weekend to see the Braves take on the Nationals and I was already psyched, then they pick up Kemp and I was on cloud 9. I have front row seats in left field for Saturday. Now hearing this news has me looking forward to the weekend that much more!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Box Break: 2016 Topps Stadium Club (Part 2)

I've been so busy lately that I almost forgot I still had about half a box of 2016 Topps Stadium Club to open! I was pleased with the first half of the box so let's see what's lurking in the second half.

Pack 9
#027 Anthony Gose
#044 Mark Melancon
#078 James Shields
#272 Michael Conforto
#292 Shin-Soo Choo
#122 Greg Maddux
#131 Gerrit Cole
#BT-07 Robinson Camo - Beam Team

Pack 10
#099 Justin Turner
#208 Edgar Martinez
#210 Luis Severino RC
#156 Randal Grichuk
#240 Brock Holt
#180 George Brett
 #216 Noah Syndergaard
#I-16 Carlos Correa - ISOMetrics

Pack 11
#265 Hector Olivera RC
#036 Nomar Mazara RC
#062 Luke Jackson RC
#071 Luis Gonzalez
#097 Eric Hosmer
#271 Martin Prado
#033 Mitch Moreland
#T-4C Matt Harvey - Triumvirate Luminous

Pack 12
#121 Masahiro Tanaka
#103 Mark McGwire
#167 Micah Johnson
#008 Stephen Vogt
#101 Archie Bradley
#189 Chris Sale
#144 Kole Calhoun
#114 David Ortiz - Gold parallel

Pack 13
#228 Jeremy Hellickson
#126 Roberto Clemente
#116 J.T. Realmuto
#269 Hector Santiago
#264 A.J. Pollock
#150 Jorge De la Rosa
#285 Trevor May
#265 Hector Olivera RC - Black parallel

Pack 14
#161 Alex Rodriguez
#052 Yangervis Solarte
#184 Byron Buxton
#059 Ken Giles
#102 Ichiro
#093 C.J. Wilson
#232 Sean Doolittle
#151 Stephen Piscotty RC - Gold parallel

Pack 15
#111 Matt Carpenter
#118 Brian Dozier
#15 Paul Goldschmidt
#188 Colin Rea RC
#267 John Smoltz
#251 Jon Gray
#290 Manny Machado
#220 Jung Go Kang - Gold parallel

Pack 16
#182 Ryan Braun
#163 Billy Hamilton
#212 Jonthan Lucroy
#025 Chris Archer
#247 Cameron Rupp
#010 Jose Altuve
#162 T.J. House - Black parallel
#SCA-BHP Byoung-Ho Park - Autograph

Overall I was pleased with the box's contents. The inserts in the 2nd half were a little boring with just black and gold parallels, but the other auto ended up being another rookie. I look forward to getting these cards collated and in pages next. Then I'll see if I can move both autos for something more interesting to me.